Ottawa was Canada’s No. 1 Growth City for 2017, according to U-Haul data analyzing the past year’s Canadian migration trends. The nation’s capital, with its picturesque location on the Ottawa River and a population nearing 1 million, climbed nine spots from its previous ranking to earn the top spot. Kamloops, B.C., led the growth list for 2016.
Arrivals accounted for 51.8 percent of one-way U-Haul truck traffic in Ottawa. Year-over-year arrivals of one-way U-Haul truck rentals rose 7 percent while departures climbed 5 percent from Ottawa’s 2016 numbers.
“Being a capital city, Ottawa sees a lot of movement,” said U-Haul Company of Western Quebec president Claude Boucher, whose territory includes Ottawa. “It is home to Parliament Hill, which brings new jobs and residents every year. Ottawa has museums, the government buildings and 35 major festivals a year. It’s one of the most family-oriented places I’ve been. They do it right.”
Growth Cities are calculated by the net gain of arriving one-way U-Haul trucks over departing one-way U-Haul trucks for a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from more than 1.7 million one-way U-Haul truck rental transactions that occur annually.
While migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, U-Haul growth data is an effective gauge of how well cities are attracting and maintaining residents.
Ontario Cities Dominate List
Twenty-one of the 25 leading Growth Cities are in Ontario, including the next 13 cities after Ottawa. Alberta cities Grande Prairie and Lethbridge are represented, along with Chilliwack, B.C., and Sherbrooke, Que. Just missing the top 25 list was Vancouver, B.C., ranking 26th.
Belleville, located at the mouth of the Moira River along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, was No. 2 in growth. U-Haul locations there saw 57.9 percent of moving trucks coming into the city as opposed to leaving. Overall, U-Haul traffic increased considerably in Belleville as arrivals rose 16 percent and departures rose 13 percent year-over-year.
“Ontario has a lot to offer,” said Ryan Pearson, U-Haul Company of Central Canada president. “The cities range from peaceful to bustling, and the providence is known for its diversity. Plus, Ontario has some of the milder weather in Canada, so people tend to flock here.”
U-Haul is the authority on migration trends thanks to its expansive network that blankets all 50 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces. The geographical coverage from more than 21,000 U-Haul locations provides a comprehensive overview of where people are moving like no one else in the industry.
“U-Haul migration trends data is among the most sought after in the industry because it is the most comprehensive,” U-Haul Executive Vice President Stuart Shoen said. “We dot the map in more places with more equipment and reflect the migration patterns of more do-it-yourself movers than anyone else.”
What They’re Saying about Ottawa
“Ottawa remains a prime location for those wishing to relocate to a vibrant and diverse community. Offering a bilingual environment, our community is comprised of Francophones, Anglophones and a welcoming multicultural community. Ottawa’s workforce continues to grow with the arrival of innovative new companies in addition to housing a high number of government employees. In addition to being a great place to work, our community offers a wide variety of all-season activities, whether it be indoors or outdoors, as well as great entertainment, whether it be with the Ottawa Senators, the Ottawa Redblacks, the Ottawa Fury FC, or even the Ottawa Champions baseball team to name but a few. Entertainment and cultural activities can be found throughout the city as well as many festivals that could be enjoyed through the 12 months of the year. One of the highlights of Ottawa is the culinary opportunities that this city has to provide.” — Bob Monette, Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
2017 Canadian Growth Cities
|5. NORTH BAY||Ont.|
|7. WASAGA BEACH||Ont.|
|9. ELLIOT LAKE||Ont.|
|10. PARRY SOUND||Ont.|
|12. SAINT THOMAS||Ont.|
|18. GRANDE PRAIRIE||Alta.|
|21. BARRYS BAY||Ont.|